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GFL team cleans up at NC SWANA Road-E-O

GFL's winners, back row L-R: Travis Brickman, Tracy Hendricks, Vincent Dublin, James Levett, Shawn Swafford
Front Row L-R: Garrett Riddle, Silas Metz, Preston Travelstead

GFL drivers, heavy equipment operators and mechanics competed for top honors  at the SWANA (Solid Waste Association of North America) North Carolina chapter 2022 Road-E-O, held in Greensboro on May 20 and 21.

Roughly 40 GFL employees tested their skills against their peers from public and private waste collection agencies across the state, eight of whom placed in the top three for their respective category.

“Congratulations to all our drivers, heavy equipment operators and mechanics who competed at the North Carolina SWANA Road-E-O,” said Ben Habets, area vice-president in Raleigh. “Their high skill level and attention to safety truly personifies GFL’s Safe For Life culture.”

GFL employees from various North Carolina locations also volunteered to set up and run the events, and family members were invited to watch their loved ones in action.

“Young kids especially love it because they get to see the big trucks, and it’s even more special when you get to see what your mother or father does on a daily basis,” said Jordan Weiner, regional environmental, health and safety manager in Raleigh. “I think the solid waste business, in general, is a commonly overlooked and unappreciated business, so the Road-E-O is a great way to get more visibility for the industry and raise awareness about how important it is.”

Competitors are nominated by their supervisor or manager. To qualify for the Road-E-O, all participants must be accident and injury free for the year leading up to the event.

“You’ve got to prove that you operate with safety in the forefront of your mind,” Weiner said. “When it comes to folks competing here, they’re the cream of the crop. GFL had a contestant in the top three in every field except for one.”

The competition is a two-part event. Drivers and mechanics complete a 25-question written test. Drivers navigate pre-set obstacle courses, heavy equipment operators test their skills at a landfill site, and mechanics perform troubleshooting and diagnostics tests. All categories are judged on time and accuracy.

Each driving course is configured for every type of vehicle, such as front loaders, side loaders, rear loaders, roll-off trucks and tractor trailers. Events include parallel parking and navigating through a slalom course of cones without knocking any over.

The winners of each category receive trophies, cash awards and recognition as one of the best of the best in the North Carolina waste industry.

First and second place winners in each category are eligible to enter the SWANA International Road-E-O where they will compete against their colleagues from across North America.

“We will be supporting and funding the first and second place winners in North Carolina to go on to compete at the SWANA International Road-E-O in El Paso, Texas, on October 14 and 15,” Habets said.

Congratulations to all the GFL competitors and our winners:

  • Tracy Hendricks, Vance-Granville Mechanic – First Place
  • Preston Travelstead, South Wake LF Dozer – First Place
  • Shawn Swafford, Raleigh Roll-Off – Second Place
  • Travis Brickman, Greensboro Front Loader – Third Place
  • Vincent Dublin, Tri-East Rear Loader – Third Place
  • Silas Metz, Tri-East Mechanic – Third Place
  • Garrett Riddle, South Wake LF Dozer – Third Place
  • James Levett, Red Rock Compactor – Third Place

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